I'm facing a moral crises over some fundamental issues regarding health reform legislation.
First, I believe a woman has the right to choose an abortion, not the government nor any religious organization. At the same time, I would not encourage my wife to abort our child unless it would save her life.
Second, as a policy issue, I have no moral grounds to oppose the Hyde Amendment which essentially prohibits taxpayers' money to pay for an abortion. The reasoning in itself is contradictory and unfair to women who cannot afford abortion procedures. My bias is directed at those women who lack responsibility and willy nilly get themselves pregnant as often as a tree bears fruit. Why should I living in Southern California pay for an abortion for some tart in South Florida? No where does it say some things in life are not fair.
I applaud the Catholic Church for running a network of hospitals and promoting universal health care coverage. At the same time, I am appalled that representatives of Catholic bishops successfully lobbied the House of Representatives to take its anti-abortion issue to the ultimate extreme. One threat they have used is closing down all the Catholic hospitals in America if they don't get their way.
The bill passed by the House prohibits a woman from getting an abortion even if she pays for it if any of the insurers involved receive federal subsidies. That, my friends, is a step too far since every carrier for a woman with modest income is subsidized.
From here, the debate goes downhill in a hand basket. It renews the ugly argument of the role religion plays in politics. My basic principle is to keep religion out of politics yet the Catholic bishops as well as the far right Protestant fundamentalists have every right to exercise their powers to our Congress. Complicating matters is many if not most Catholic laypeople quietly do not condone abortion.
Good politics is the art of compromise and doing what's best for the common good. It will be needed if Congress ever passes health reform. As of now, the abortion issue is more volatile than any tangent of a public option.
This article from National Public Radio sums the issue well.